St. LOUIS, Mo. – July 26, 2022 – The Regions Foundation, a nonprofit initiative primarily funded by Regions Bank, on Tuesday announced a $40,000 grant to Starkloff Disability Institute to help provide a brighter future for students. The grant was presented on the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Regions Foundation’s contribution will support Access to a Dream, Starkloff Disability Institute’s workforce development programs advancing economic opportunities for youth with disabilities. Innovative Starkloff programs are designed to ensure at-risk young people embrace their disability identity, develop essential life skills, and gain confidence and knowledge as they explore career options.
The programs focus on transitions, which can pose particular challenges for people with disabilities. Among examples:
- Dream Big leads high school students with disabilities on journeys of career exploration and self-discovery to prepare for their futures.
- As they grow, Access U offers customized career development services and peer support to close the gap between college and careers for disabled students.
- Importantly, the Dream Big and Access U sessions are led by people with disabilities, helping students identify with their instructors and recognize they have advocates who are pulling for their success.
“This investment in workforce development for young people with disabilities will empower more people to lead full, independent lives. This is the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Access to good jobs means determining your own future and participating fully in your community,” said Colleen Starkloff, co-founder of SDI.
Today’s students – the ADA generation – have lived their whole lives with opportunities afforded by that landmark legislation signed in 1990. But even with more of the world accessible to people with disabilities than ever before, barriers to independence remain.
“People with disabilities have so much to offer to employers, and one way we can create more inclusive prosperity is by supporting programs that connect students with disabilities with additional opportunities for gainful employment,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation. “By investing in Dream Big and Access U, we empower youth with disabilities through job readiness and workforce training led by experts who themselves have faced and overcome similar barriers. This program’s unique approach makes it transformational for all involved.”
This investment in workforce development for young people with disabilities will empower more people to lead full, independent lives.
Beginning in high school, SDI’s Dream Big program exposes students to careers in leading industries and raises their expectations for themselves. Students take part in summer camps and afterschool activities that connect them with professionals at top companies. Further, students develop skills as powerful self-advocates with SDI staff.
After they reach college, students with disabilities are one-third less likely to graduate than their non-disabled peers and 40 percent less likely to obtain employment upon graduation. Through 1:1 coaching, workshops, and events, SDI’s Access U program helps these students become competitive internship and job seekers.
Funded by community investments, Starkloff Disability Institute works with 100 disabled students each year to expand futures and improve college graduation and employment rates.
“For more than 20 years, Starkloff Disability Institute has empowered youth and adults with disabilities to participate fully and equally in all aspects of society,” said Scott Hartwig, Greater St. Louis market executive for Regions Bank. “Starkloff has also elevated employment for people with disabilities by educating St. Louis employers on how they can be more disability welcoming. Thanks to this generous grant from our colleagues at the Regions Foundation, Starkloff’s work in advancing workforce development can make an even greater impact.”
ABOUT REGIONS FOUNDATION
The Alabama-based Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.
ABOUT REGIONS FINANCIAL CORPORATION
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $161 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,300 banking offices and more than 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.
ABOUT THE STARKLOFF DISABILITY INSTITUTE
Starkloff disability Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in St. Louis, Missouri that builds inclusion where we live, learn, work, and play through disability-led programs that advance economic opportunity and transform lives. SDI was founded in 2003 by disability rights pioneers Max and Colleen Starkloff. More information is available at www.starkloff.org.
A Deeper Look at the ADA Signing’s Significance
Signed into law on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Ac
t (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of public life, including employment, transportation and public and private places open to the general public.What does that mean? Simply stated, the ADA’s purpose is to ensure that the one in every four people who have a disability also have the same rights, opportunities and access as everyone else to lead full and productive lives.
Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation are committed to removing barriers and elevating access for people with disabilities. That includes supporting community partnerships with nonprofits serving people with disabilities across the bank’s footprint and creating an ADA-friendly environment in Regions Bank branches.
Check out this article and video to see how Regions Bank and the Regions Foundation are advancing and promoting a culture of accessibility for everyone.